However, the choice of tyre is a factor which is often overlooked by both fleet managers and commercial vehicle insurance companies. Could this change the way in which fleet managers choose their tyres?
How it works
The new tyre rating system (makes an attempt to) show how safe a tyre is in slippery conditions (such as rain). Traditionally tyres have always had a ‘speed rating’ but this helps in choosing the safest tyre. The difference in breaking distance for a vehicle travelling at a mere 50mph can be 18 metres from an A-G rated tyre.
You can see how loud a tyre is externally, is how loud the tyre is externally. In large quantities therefore, quite tyres can really make a difference to noise pollution.
It also shows the energy efficiency rating of the tyre. Choosing an energy efficient tyre can be very important to a fleet. The fuel consumption difference between an A-G rated tyre can be as much as 7.5%.
Fleet managers have no say
The fact is however, that fleet managers do not get to choose the tyres. It is the vehicle leasing company who chooses the tyre – normally going for the cheapest manufacturer deal. In other words you get what you’re given as tyre choice is usually included in a maintenance contract.
All tyres made after July 1st this year have been tested and labelled in this way; however tyres manufactured before are not compulsorily labelled. Labelling already manufactured tyres looks unlikely as it would be a costly operation fraught with potential legal traps.
For the tyre manufacturers this is very important and takes into account factors (such as energy rating and tyre noise) which have previously been side-lined and puts them at the forefront of consumer decision-making.
Certainly in the future, fleet managers should insist on the most economical and safest tyres, especially considering the current economic climate and price of fuel.